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July 31, 2011 7:00 PM Reid throws support to debt deal

By Steve Benen

If the debt-reduction deal is going to pass, it’s going to need the support of congressional leaders. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appears to be on board, which makes sense, given that he helped negotiate the terms with the White House.

About an hour ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced his support, pending approval from his caucus, which has not yet been briefed on all of the details.

As for what they’re likely to hear, Brian Beutler has a helpful report walking though the framework.

It guarantees the debt limit will be hiked by $2.4 trillion. Immediately upon enactment of the plan, the Treasury will be granted $400 billion of new borrowing authority, after which President Obama will be allowed to extend the debt limit by $500 billion, subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.

That initial $900 billion will be paired with $900 billion of discretionary spending cuts, first identified in a weeks-old bipartisan working group led by Vice President Joe Biden, which will be spread out over 10 years.

Obama will later be able to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, again subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.

That will be paired with the formation of a Congressional committee tasked with reducing deficits by a minimum of $1.2 trillion. That reduction can come from spending cuts, tax increases or a mixture thereof.

And that’s where it starts to get a lot more complicated. This bipartisan panel — some have been calling it a “Super Congress” — would be tasked with tackling tax and entitlement “reform,” with the goal of saving $1.2 trillion. Democrats will fight to ensure some of that total includes new revenue; Republicans will fight for the opposite.

If this commission fails to reach an agreement, a “trigger” kicks in: $1.5 trillion in cuts. The idea is to create an incentive for lawmakers on the bipartisan panel to succeed, since they won’t like the triggered consequences. In this case, half of the $1.5 trillion in cuts would come from defense (presumably a goal Republicans would want to avoid), while the other half would come from domestic spending (which Dems would want to prevent).

But even within this trigger are some restrictions: Medicaid and Social Security would be walled off and protected, and while the domestic cuts could affect Medicare, the cuts would be limited to Medicare providers, not beneficiaries.

Speaker Boehner has not yet endorsed the framework — he’s been unusually quiet all day — and is rumored to want to change the trigger to make it easier on Republicans. He wants Democrats to have more of an incentive to deal on the bipartisan panel, without GOP members having to worry about failure.

He may not fully understand triggers at a conceptual level.

In any case, while the blueprint makes the rounds, I’d hesitate in making too many assumptions about its chances. If Reid and McConnell are both on board, the plan will probably get the necessary support to clear the upper chamber, and the Democratic leadership is eyeing a vote as early as tonight, though, as is always the case, the schedule is subject to change.

The House is a very different animal. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has received an extensive briefing on the plan, but has not yet expressed her approval, and plans to meet with her caucus in the morning. She will hear considerable opposition from many of her members — most notably from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus — and Pelosi has also hinted strongly that Democratic support may be minimal*.

And then, of course, one never knows what House Republicans, dominated by a significant Suicide Squad, might say in response to this. They’re unlikely to approve, despite all of the Democratic concessions, and if there are enough conservative and liberal opponents, the deal may very well not have the votes to pass the House.

The deadline, for those keeping track, is 53 hours away.

* Edited slightly for clarity.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • bleh on July 31, 2011 7:12 PM:

    Hmm, that's not nearly as much of a royal screwing of the middle
    class as I expected.

    Presumably the House Mouth-Breather Caucus will demand the public destruction of the FDR Memorial and Obama's resignation before they'll agree.

    And then Obama will agree to destroy the memorial. And then Mitch McConnell will raise an objection.

    Haven't the Democrats ever read "Peanuts"?

  • Ken on July 31, 2011 7:14 PM:

    He may not fully understand triggers at a conceptual level.

    See, this is where my Saw theory of government reform comes in. One ten-minute session, and the Speaker will have a visceral understanding of triggers and consequences.

  • pete on July 31, 2011 7:26 PM:

    Nancy, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. I trust Pelosi more than anyone else round there. I just wonder how hard she is going to twist arms. Frankly, I hope not too hard. Because at this point, I'm ready to risk default rather than see all the Dems lined up behind a bad deal with a rump of moderate Republicans. If all but 30 or Reps vote for it, that's one thing; but if only 30 or so Reps vote for it, then the heck with them and it.

  • Bobfr on July 31, 2011 7:30 PM:

    Steadily moving toward Presidential enforcement of Section 4 of the XIVth Amendment ... because no way this thing gets through the House.

    Yes.We.Can. ... DO.More.Together!

  • DTTM on July 31, 2011 7:30 PM:

    As I expected, the Suicide Club in the House will now include the far Right and the far Left.

    Ceiling be damned; we won't compromise and go to the middle, where all significant congressional legislation always ends up in a rational political system.

    Default is not an option; neither is a downgrade in any form.

  • brent on July 31, 2011 7:31 PM:

    Well as far as I can see there is no BBA nonsense so that makes it a no go for a large part of the House GOP moron caucus. The super committee stuff is stupid but I guess it is constructed in a way that makes it possible for most House Dems to support although I see that Pelosi is skeptical. I guess we will find out soon.

  • msmolly on July 31, 2011 7:39 PM:

    This bipartisan panel — some have been calling it a “Super Congress” — would be tasked with tackling tax and entitlement “reform,” with the goal of saving $1.2 trillion.

    Some have been calling it Catfood Commission II. They're speaking the truth. Let Grandma eat cat food so we can preserve all of the subsidies and tax breaks for corps and the wealthy.

  • PTate in MN on July 31, 2011 7:47 PM:

    DTTM: "Ceiling be damned; we won't compromise and go to the middle, where all significant congressional legislation always ends up in a rational political system"

    Where "middle" is defined as "significantly to the right of Ronald Reagan" and "rational political system" is defined as "legislation that will hurt the economy but still isn't quite destructive enough to satisfy the right-wing anarchists controlling Congress."

  • DTTM on July 31, 2011 7:48 PM:

    and at least, now that the broad outlines of the deal are known, everyone should be comfortable knowing that this is a centrist compromise, made by centrist people. I don't find it offensive; indeed it is better than I hoped for.

    One may disagree with the contents, but with passage, the pin will be firmly reinserted back into the grenade.
    But it probably won't pass the House and then what? I don't know for sure, but I certainly don't want to test these toxic waters.

  • windshouter on July 31, 2011 7:49 PM:

    So, this is a capitulation by the Democrats and everyone sees that, so if I'm a Democratic legislator I don't have to vote for it unless "bipartisan deficit reduction" does anything in my reelection campaign. Also, many Republicans (I hope) get on the hook for voting for this, making the tea party madder. Finally, in 2012, I can note that every Republican would rather cut Medicare than tax the rich. Hmm.

  • Memekiller on July 31, 2011 7:52 PM:

    I've never really said this, but my secret hope has always been that whatever monstrosity fails in the House, and with all options exhausted, we simply hold a clean vote to raise the debt ceiling, with every Dem on board, and then see who's enough of a patriot on the Republican side to commit hari kari and abandon the Tea Party to save the nation.

    Who am I kidding. I say that every day.

    It doesn't matter what deal emerges, it will have been ransom, and as such illigitimate in my eyes and not to be rewarded. Not only is it a bad bill, it makes economic terrorism very, very profitable.

  • Stuart Shiffman on July 31, 2011 7:55 PM:

    Could someone, anyone please explain to me where any of this is provided for in the Constitution?

  • Zastrozzi on July 31, 2011 7:57 PM:

    @Memekiller ... I'm with you. No matter what passes, extortion will have become an accepted means to achieve policy ends.

    This is just such a disheartening affair.

  • candideinncC on July 31, 2011 7:58 PM:

    It stinks royally. This is Obama's grand bargain--nothing from the Thugs as a concession, everything from the Dems. I pray to God the progressive caucus can make it fail. This guy is the worst Democratic prsident of my lifetime. He is undermining Medicare and Social Security because he wants to, and he is creating a circumstance where the Thugs can blackmail the government to do whatever they want the government to do. Unbelievable. And ignoring the worst job situation of my lifetime.

  • Chris on July 31, 2011 7:59 PM:

    Steve's summary of the deal actually sounds a lot less offensive than I anticipated. Medicaid and Social Security are protected. Medicare beneficiaries are protected. Defense will get whacked if the trigger kicks in. And there is an opportunity for revenue increases down the road.

    It's actually a might be a better deal than what Reid just tried to pass in both the House and the Senate.

    It sucks. It's a ransom (and the American people should be informed of this). We need a clean debt ceiling increase. And we need to talk about and work on jobs.

    However, again, it's about the least offensive "compromise" that I've seen so far. Since President Obama refuses to invoke the Constitutional option, to his discredit, then Democrats in both chambers should run with it. With Senate Republicans voting for it, the pressure on House Republicans will be tremendous. If they're stupid enough to reject it, the Tea Party will be dead.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on July 31, 2011 8:00 PM:

    Apparently Grover Norquist tweeted, "Sounds like a budget deal with real savings and no tax hikes is a go".

    What does that tell you?

  • Memekiller on July 31, 2011 8:05 PM:

    If Osama bin Laden said he had a dirty bomb planted somewhere in New York City unless we adopted Sharia law, would the thought of doing so ever cross our minds?

    Of course not. What a crazy terrorist wants is immaterial. And you do everything to try to stop them, but you don't give them whatever damn fool thing they're asking for. That never even comes into the equation.

    Whether or not the Tea Party was going to destroy our economy with their ideaological dirty bomb means they need to be stopped, not that we should rush to meet their demands. And if we do, and they disarm the bomb - how long would it take to remove Sharia Law from the books?

  • JS on July 31, 2011 8:05 PM:

    Defense cuts can be restored by the new Republican president as soon as they pick what new war they want to start. (I'd put my money on Iran.)

    Triggered tax increases are the only thing that will get Republicans to deal. Period. That said, the deal's indeed a bit better than people were led to believe since last night, the cuts that will inevitably come.

    My biggest objection is that the tax reform component is going to mean the end of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Obama says he'll veto anything that doesn't produce enough revenue, but I think the left needs to begin to press the White House to lay out what sort of revenues Obama has in mind for the next decade.

    I want a smarter Medicare program, and I want those 30,000,000 additional people covered under ACA. I don't want those programs under-funded to the point where it's indistinguishable from the level of care you get by visiting emergency rooms.

    There's a lot of room to negotiate here, only you're relying on a group that doesn't know the meaning of the word. You're relying on McConnell and the Tea Party to be responsible players here. I think the process is set up to fail, only the American people are too big to fail.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on July 31, 2011 8:07 PM:

    Raul Grijalva: "Republicans have succeeded in imposing their vision of a country without real economic hope".

    http://grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=13&parentid=5§iontree=5,13&itemid=1063

  • SW on July 31, 2011 8:07 PM:

    Come on boys... We got 'em right where we want 'em!

  • IndigoJoe on July 31, 2011 8:10 PM:

    I realize this still has to play out, and we don't know what the final outcome is. But I can say this with certainty: I previously thought that I would vote for Obama in 2012 while holding my nose; now, I know I will not vote for him or for any of my Congress critters who support such stupid deal-making. If I wanted a Republican in the White House, I would have voted for McCain.

    Obama has not only missed the opportunity of a generation, he is setting back the Democratic party by a generation. Maybe things have to get a lot worse before they get better. I wish there were a sEa (Enough Stupidity Already) party, but there's not. Progressives need an alternative to drag the Democratic party back to where it belongs. Who would have ever thought that Sarah Palin, someone I totally despise, was right in asking, "How's that hopey changey thing working out for ya?".

  • JS on July 31, 2011 8:11 PM:

    Oh yes, how do we know these 'defense cuts' in the trigger aren't the same phantom 'winding down the wars' cuts that both parties have alternately been using as a budget gimmick?

  • latim on July 31, 2011 8:14 PM:

    Steve, for months we have heard that President Obama was insisting on 'balance'; that in order to get Republican's would have to give....I thought his offer of 1 dollar of revenue for 4 dollars in cuts was overly generous but apparently he is now ready to sign off on 3 Trillion in cuts without any revenue increases at all......so answer me this ANYONE....how is that the President has not totally capitulated to the Republican hostage taking?

  • Memekiller on July 31, 2011 8:15 PM:

    If we wanted a real trigger, it would be raising taxes on the rich.

  • CDW on July 31, 2011 8:22 PM:

    So if the super congress doesn't come to an agreement by the deadline, who decides what cuts are triggered - half from military, half from domestic.

  • Brenna on July 31, 2011 8:25 PM:

    Are the republicans in the super congress going to insist on having their way, no compromise. I just don't see this super congress working.

  • neil b on July 31, 2011 8:29 PM:

    This sounds good enough to go with, or else suffer horrible consequences. Nancy and some of her caucus are understandably not wowed and some want to fight for something better, but it's best to try and get this worked on through. "Led by Joe Biden" - well, better than led by Mitch. However disappointing to some here, it is better than what Repubs would do if they really could get all they wanted. Do you really want to let things all go to hell to prove a point, that is teaparty style.

  • Cranky Observer on July 31, 2011 8:34 PM:

    Does it bother anyone that this concept of a "Supercongress" and automatic budget cuts is grossly unconstitutional? Or do we just not care about that stuff anymore?

    Cranky

  • Mimikatz on July 31, 2011 8:34 PM:

    This doesn't sound as bad as some of the previous deals. The $900 bil of cuts aren't great, but aren't as bas as they could be, and IIRC are about half defense cuts that DOD had already identified. The trigger is about as good as Dems can get AND remember the Bush tax cuts can expire independently if the triggers are activated. Then money could be put back In in 2013. No Medicare age extension, no SS benefit cuts, no Medicaid cuts.

    What needs to happen here is thar Pelosi can promise no more tha. 90-100 of her caucus. 90 can vote no. Boehner has to put up the majority, 120 of his people, allowing. 120 of them to vote no. If he can't get 120, but only 90-100, then Pelosi gets some sweeteners: the more Dems she needs, the less cuts are needed, or at less domestic cuts. Or the farther out the cuts are. Start taking out tax breaks for millionaires. If that doesn't scare up a few more GOP votes, TS. The Dems will have voted a majority for it and the GOP will take the blame. It should minimize the damage some and increase Dems' chances in 2013.

    Just remember, thou, that I'd the GOP wins in 2013 because people stay home, we will get the Boehner bill with the BBA next time.

  • We are Bigger Than You Think on July 31, 2011 8:36 PM:

    And when this passes, Obama can walk to center stage and seriously proclaim "We have achieved Debt Reduction in our time".

    I can hardly wait.

  • g. powell on July 31, 2011 8:37 PM:

    Obama, time to step aside and give another Dem a shot who might have a chance to win in 2012.

    Go, Hilary, you're hands are tainted by the last three years.

  • g. powell on July 31, 2011 8:40 PM:

    Sorry. I meant "you're hands aren't tainted" in last graph.

    God damn stupid paleolithic comment system on this site.

  • Chris on July 31, 2011 8:40 PM:

    I don't care how mad I am at President Obama, I will not stay home next year to allow a Romney or God knows who become President. I'm as pissed at and disappointed with Obama as the next guy. But the answer isn't to disengage. The answer is to recruit, get louder, and always show up on election day.

  • MImikatz on July 31, 2011 8:43 PM:

    I mean, if the GOP wins in 2013 because a bunch of petulant Dems refuse to vote, then we will get the BBA and huge cuts to Medicare and SS and everything else we hold dear. How great is that? How does that ensure you will protect those programs? And who is likelier to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran? If McCain had won we would be at war with Iran but not Libya, and economically we would be lots worse off. be careful what you wish for.

  • whichwitch on July 31, 2011 8:43 PM:

    I was very upset when I first heard about this "deal" but after reading the summary you provided, I will wait until more details are aired before I weigh in one way or the other. It doesn't seem to be as smelly as I first thought. The worst that has happened during this whole debacle is knowing that raising the debt ceiling in the future will now become a ransom session.

  • g. powell on July 31, 2011 8:45 PM:

    And, yes, Cranky, this Super Congress is total bullshit.

    Let me guess, the GOP will put Paul Ryan, Jim DeMint, and Eric Cantor on their side, the Dems will put Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad and some remaining blue dog in the House on the committee.

    Did you ever feel that you've been cheated?

  • Oldskool on July 31, 2011 8:47 PM:

    This whole exercise was meant to rough up Dems for 2012 and Rs are halfway home if Ds are so disgusted they stay home next year, and right now it sounds like the plan is working nicely.

  • Mr Serf Man on July 31, 2011 8:48 PM:

    SOLD.US.THE. FUCK. OUT.

    Hostages rule \


    astional extraction... Indeed MR Captcha Indeed

  • pea on July 31, 2011 8:51 PM:

    I agree with some previous writers. The only trigger the Banana Rs will respect is tax increases on the rich.

    I have little hope the new commission will be worth spit. What are the chances there will be even one progressive on it?! It will somehow end up being a way around our just letting the Bush tax cuts expire!

    We need to put serious pressure on the WH & Dems to actually PROTECT the people in reasonable ways and to RAISE TAXES ON THE RICH. We MUST find a way to stop their looting of our country and eviseration of our social fabric. O needs to hear just how much his re-election depends on making real progress towards these goals, not just pretty language and taking us for granted because he thinks we have no one else to vote for. Likewise, we have to help the broad spectrum of the public to see how our vision and plans for the country are GOOD ideas with evidence that they work, far better than what we've been doing since the 80s. Gear up, guys. More work ahead.

  • samsa on July 31, 2011 8:55 PM:

    Obama is toast.

    If he is not, he should be.

    He should take his comprising behind back to Hawaii.

    Compromising does not mean that you first come half way, and if the other side does not agree, you come the 3/4 of the rest of way, and if the other side does not agree with you you come 3/2 of the rest of the way, and suck on the other side's whatever they want sucked.

    Obama is not a leader. He has lost this lifelong Democratic supporter's vote.

  • Matt Finnegan on July 31, 2011 8:56 PM:

    I'm confused is this "CHANGE" and the "Audacity of Hope" or is it the "Mendacity of Obama the Compromiser". Are we "Winning the Future”.

    Democrats 2012 Campaign – “Not as bad as Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor” That should fire up the base.

  • Josef K on July 31, 2011 9:02 PM:

    Likely as not, we'll never know all the details behind these negotiations (never mind who the relevant players are/were) until years from now when some staffer writes a tell-all that said players will all loudly decry.

    That said, I'm constantly puzzling over the President and the Democrat's behavior here. Were they moving towards their own goals here (Obama never made any secret of his desire to 'reform' entitlements, and Reid and Pelosi are creatures of the deal, not principles alone), or were they convinced from the outset that a deal had to be made given neither Boehner nor McConnell could control their caucus? I doubt we'll ever really know, one way or the other.

    I likewise wonder if this final atrocity can or will make it through the House. Boehner no doubt wants it to, quite desperately, but given the intrangience of his caucus, never mind Cantor having undercut him at too many turns, I don't see him being able to whip enough votes all on his own. And as Pelosi and team are (from what I'm hearing) saying they'll see how the House Republicans vote first, passage in the House is problematic at best.

    Somehow, this doesn't bother me quite as much as it probably should. I'm half-tempted to hope it fails and the proverbial whirlwhind gets unleashed. Our current economic system is simply too miswired to survive like this.

    Great. Now I'm actually starting to sound like a tea partier. Doubtless I'm heading for tea with the mad hatter sometime soon.

  • Cybrguy on July 31, 2011 9:02 PM:

    I've given up on ANY option other than the Nuclear one. It is completely impossible to get anything even close to reasonable past the suicide squad. I don't want the President and the Senate to give the keys away JUST TO PLEASE CRAZIES THAT CAN"T BE PLEASED ANYWAY!!! The cost is just "TOO DAMN HIGH!!!"

    Mr President. Stop the Carousel and let me off. It is TIME FOR THE 14th AMENDMENT SOLUTION!

  • Jim Snyder on July 31, 2011 9:09 PM:

    Munich

    the unemployed, the labor unions, the sick, the poor, the oppressed ... "a far-away country people of whom we know nothing".

  • Bernard HP Gilroy on July 31, 2011 9:14 PM:

    Heaven help us, we're reduced to depending on being saved by the Crazy Caucus. Make no mistake, even the moderately-improved "deal" outlined by Steve is still complete capitulation to the hostage-takers. What the nation needs now is for the House to reject this at 11 pm and force Obama's hand.

  • sapient on July 31, 2011 9:17 PM:

    I don't see what the big deal is, assuming this passes. It's kick the can to the supercommittee, and the Bush tax cuts are still on the table. It will be excruciating, of course, but what won't. Get out the vote for Obama and a Democratic Congress and quit fantasizing about a better alternative. The thing to do is get rid of Republicans in office.

    What did people think was going to happen with a Republican House, especially right-win Republicans controlling the purse strings?

    And let me ask again, to the 14th Amendment Solution proponents: what does that look like, and for how long? A lot of people have predicted a scenario, but there's no predicting anything.

  • DB on July 31, 2011 9:29 PM:

    If we wanted a real trigger, it would be raising taxes on the rich.

    There is still a trigger. The Bush tax cuts expire Dec. 31, 2012. Win or lose the election, Obama can do nothing and they expire.

    And they should. No more of this only $250,000 and up bullshit. They should all expire and everybody should chip in.

    If you are serious about saving some of the social safety net are you also serious about helping pay for it?

  • samsa on July 31, 2011 9:50 PM:

    I will gag when the next person asks me what's the alternative?

    Obama is probably worse than the alternative. With teh alternative you know what you gonna get.

  • Doug on July 31, 2011 9:54 PM:

    "...Grover Norquist tweeted, 'Sounds like a budget deal with real savings and no tax hikes is a go.' What does that tell you?" Squeaky McKrinkle @ 8:00 PM

    That Grover Norquist demonstrates, yet again, that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    re the Doom and Gloom bunch: Do I still have time to buy some utility stocks? Before you turn on the gas, I mean?

  • JM917 on July 31, 2011 9:56 PM:

    I'm still trying to digest this thing and to calm down after having my blood pressure elevated for the last few days trying to deal with all the alarm bells going off.

    But on the basis of what I can see so far, I think we progressives ought to go with the deal. Not by any means clean. But it leaves out all that Balanced Budget amendment crap, it takes a serious bite out of defense and agricultural subsidies, it cordons off Social Security and Medicare, and it elminates (for all practical purposes) further attempts to use the debt ceiling as a factor in hostage taking. It also leaves us in a position, if we win the next presidential election, to kill the goddamned Bush tax cuts by letting them expire. That, and the ACA starting to kick into action and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan presumably winding down, gives us a serious chance to start getting the deficit on the road to recovery (i.e., in the direction it was going before George Bush got selected by the SCOTUS).

    I don't like the Super Congress, and a lot will hinge on who sits there. We have got to insist on having some real progressives on board, not the likes of Ben Nelson (or even my own senator, Warner). Even if the Super Congress can decide on enough cuts, the triggers that come into action won't have too much effect for too long--PROVIDED we elect a more progressive Congress in 2012.

    A few hours ago I was yelling to dump Obama and have an insurgent challenge him. That was in response to what sounded like plausible rumors of a really bad giveaway. Who knows, maybe our collective screams from the left got heard and strengthened the hands of Obama and Reid.

    Anyway--barring any more unpleasant revelations--I'm feeling a lot better about Obama. And we really DO have to reelect him and send him a better Congress than he's had to deal with. That means all out in 2012--no sitting and sulking in our tents, like pissed-off Achilles.

    I really hope that this deal splits the House GOP wide opeen and sends the Tea Bag Army into a frenzy. What we need is less civil war among progressives and more among the Baggers. Boehner doesn't sound a bit happy, and Nancy Pelosi isn't giving him any olive branch promises of a lot of Dem votes to make up for his Republican defections. I hope this screws Boehner royally--he deserves it.

    If the House screws up and refuses to pass the deal, then I guess we're looking at default--and for Obama to ride to the rescue brandishing the 14th Amendment. The blame should fall on the Repugs--and the mainstream media had better start talking about "the extremists," the way Cronkheit and Huntley + Brinkley did back in the days of Goldwater, the Young Americans for Freedom, the White Citizens Councils, and the John Birch Society.

  • JM917 on July 31, 2011 9:57 PM:

    I'm still trying to digest this thing and to calm down after having my blood pressure elevated for the last few days trying to deal with all the alarm bells going off.

    But on the basis of what I can see so far, I think we progressives ought to go with the deal. Not by any means clean. But it leaves out all that Balanced Budget amendment crap, it takes a serious bite out of defense and agricultural subsidies, it cordons off Social Security and Medicare, and it elminates (for all practical purposes) further attempts to use the debt ceiling as a factor in hostage taking. It also leaves us in a position, if we win the next presidential election, to kill the goddamned Bush tax cuts by letting them expire. That, and the ACA starting to kick into action and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan presumably winding down, gives us a serious chance to start getting the deficit on the road to recovery (i.e., in the direction it was going before George Bush got selected by the SCOTUS).

    I don't like the Super Congress, and a lot will hinge on who sits there. We have got to insist on having some real progressives on board, not the likes of Ben Nelson (or even my own senator, Warner). Even if the Super Congress can decide on enough cuts, the triggers that come into action won't have too much effect for too long--PROVIDED we elect a more progressive Congress in 2012.

    A few hours ago I was yelling to dump Obama and have an insurgent challenge him. That was in response to what sounded like plausible rumors of a really bad giveaway. Who knows, maybe our collective screams from the left got heard and strengthened the hands of Obama and Reid.

    Anyway--barring any more unpleasant revelations--I'm feeling a lot better about Obama. And we really DO have to reelect him and send him a better Congress than he's had to deal with. That means all out in 2012--no sitting and sulking in our tents, like pissed-off Achilles.

    I really hope that this deal splits the House GOP wide opeen and sends the Tea Bag Army into a frenzy. What we need is less civil war among progressives and more among the Baggers. Boehner doesn't sound a bit happy, and Nancy Pelosi isn't giving him any olive branch promises of a lot of Dem votes to make up for his Republican defections. I hope this screws Boehner royally--he deserves it.

    If the House screws up and refuses to pass the deal, then I guess we're looking at default--and for Obama to ride to the rescue brandishing the 14th Amendment. The blame should fall on the Repugs--and the mainstream media had better start talking about "the extremists," the way Cronkheit and Huntley + Brinkley did back in the days of Goldwater, the Young Americans for Freedom, the White Citizens Councils, and the John Birch Society.

  • JM917 on July 31, 2011 10:04 PM:

    Sorry for the double post. Damned Captcha made it look like the first post hadn't gone through.

  • PTate in MN on August 01, 2011 2:04 AM:

    Hurray, the Republicans are not going to destroy the world economy and the credit rating of the US just because they can. And as someone said upthread, the deal " gives us a serious chance to start getting the deficit on the road to recovery"....

    Except cutting the deficit is, of course, not the problem that needs to be solved right now despite what the President and Republicans claim. What Americans need are jobs. The best way to reduce the deficit is to increase revenues, to get people back to work. And the only way we can get people back to work is for the government to stimulate the economy, not for the government to take money out of the economy.

    I will vote for Obama in 2012 because the Republicans are bats**t crazy; Obama is a huge disappointment to me, but Republicans must never, ever be allowed to hold positions of power again. Obama knows his base doesn't have anywhere to go, but I sure hope being Mr Conciliatory appeals to moderates.

  • sklepmxk on September 30, 2011 11:44 PM:

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